Every new year brings changes in Social Security benefits, and 2020 is no different. There are changes in the amount of benefits being paid as well as the requirements to qualify for benefits. These changes can have a big impact on people who are already receiving Social Security benefits, as well as those who expect to begin receiving benefits in 2020.
2020 Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)
When the cost of living rises, as measured by the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index, federal benefits are adjusted for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries. 2020’s cost of living adjustment, or COLA, will be an increase of 1.6 percent.
This means that the estimated average monthly Social Security Benefits Payable, starting in January 2020, will rise from $1,479 to $1,503 for all retired workers; $2,491 to $2,531 for an aged couple who both receiving benefits; $2,888 to $2,934 for a widowed mother and two children; $1,400 to $1,422 for an aged widow who lives alone; $2,141 to $2,176 disabled worker, spouse and one or more children; $1,238 to $1,258 for all disabled workers.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits Are Scheduled to Go Up in 2020
Thanks to the COLA, those receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will see an increase in their monthly payments starting in 2020. Individual benefits will rise from $771 a month to $783; couples will see an increase from $1,157 a month to $1,175. (SSI resource limits — $2000 a month for individuals and $3000 a month for couples — will remain the same.)
Maximum Monthly Social Security Benefits Increase as Well
The maximum Social Security benefits that a worker retiring at full retirement age will rise from $2,861 a month to $3,011 a month in 2020.
Good News for Social Security Recipients Who Continue to Work
Persons between the ages of 62 and 66/67 — full retirement age — who collect Social Security and continue to work have their benefits reduced if they earn over a certain amount of money in a year. (One dollar in benefits is withheld for every $2 in earnings above the limit.) In 2019, for a recipient who had not quite reached full retirement age, that amount was $17,640 a year ($1,470 a month); in 2020 it will rise to $18,240 a year ($1,520 a month). The maximum amount of income for recipients who have reached full retirement age was $46,920 a year ($3,910 a month) in 2019; in 2020, that amount will increase to $48,600 a year ($4,050 a month).
Maximum Taxable Earnings Go Up in 2020
In 2020, the maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security tax will go from $132,900 to $137,700 a year.
Workers Will Have to Pay More for Social Security Credits
Employees must earn a certain number of Social Security credits in order to qualify for benefits. In most cases, the minimum amount is 40 credits. One work credit equals three months of Social Security benefits. The amount of money an employee is required to make to earn a credit goes up from $1,360 to $1,410 in 2020.
Social Security Disability Earning Thresholds Increase
The amount of money a person receiving Social Security disability benefits can make through Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) per month increases in 2020 from $1,220 to$1,260 for non-blind recipients and $2,040 to $2,110 for those who are blind. The amount of money a person on disability can make during a Trial Work Period (TWP) goes from $880 to $ 910 a month.
Students Receiving SSI Benefits Will Be Able to Earn More in 2020
The student earned income exclusion (SEIE) is an SSI work incentive that allows certain SSI recipients who are under the age of 22 and attend school to earn a certain amount of money without losing their benefits. In 2019, that will go from $1,870 a month to $1,900 a month in 2020; the annual income limit will go from $7,550 a year to $7,670 a year in 2020.
M. Stanley Whitehead Social Security Benefits Lawyer
M. Stanley Whitehead, who is Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law by the National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy, has helped thousands of American workers obtain the disability benefits they need and deserve. As a leading Social Security disability attorney, he keeps abreast of all the changes in Social Security benefits.
If you need help applying for Social Security benefits or have been unfairly denied your claim for Social Security disability benefits contact the law offices of M. Stanley Whitehead without delay to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.